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JIS News

The Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC) is appealing to the public to donate more blood to benefit the 19 children from across the island, who will be undergoing open-heart surgery next week.
The operations are scheduled for November 7 to 12 and will be performed by surgeons affiliated with the United Kingdom-based charitable organisation, Chain of Hope. The types of blood required are O Positive, B Positive and A Positive.
Dr. Lambert Innis, Consultant Anaesthetist at BHC, told JIS News that over the years, the public has been very generous in their response to the national blood drive, which has benefited countless young children.
Dr. Innis’ plea comes against the background of the reduction in bloodstock at the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), as persons were unable to make their regular donations on account of the severe weather conditions last month.
“We are also asking all the blood donors and friends of the patients that are scheduled for operations, to come in and donate blood for the surgery of their relative or friend,” Dr. Innis said.
“Make sure to encourage friends to encourage others to donate blood,” he further urged.
Explaining why the blood was urgently needed, he informed that the surgeries were very complex and risky, requiring a substantial amount of blood per patient.
“It is open heart surgery, where during the period of the surgery the patient’s heart will not be beating and they will have to go on an artificial heart and lung machine, that will be oxygenating the blood for them and pumping the blood around their body, while the operation to correct the defect in the heart is carried out,” Dr. Innis expounded.
Continuing, he said, “to do this, we need to put some blood in the machine first or what you call prime the machine, and afterwards or even before the patient comes off the table, it is not unusual to find that they require additional blood.”
Dr. Innis said that it was not possible to say exactly how much blood each patient would need, but estimated that four to six units per patient would suffice.
He noted that past experiences would be used as a guide for the cardiac surgery team, which would be led by the renowned Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub.
The team of surgeons from the Chain of Hope charity have been visiting Jamaica for many years, performing operations to correct heart conditions in children.
Lead surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub and his team, visit Jamaica once a year in November to donate their services for a week. His team has also visited other countries such as Mozambique and Egypt to perform similar surgeries.
Last year, the team of surgeons performed open-heart surgery on 18 Jamaican children.